As 2021 slowly comes to an end, KPG Healthcare believes it is only fair to close the year with a healthcare professional spotlight. This month, we are introducing you to one of our Neuro Intensive Care Unit nurses, Kimberly!
Let’s Meet Kimberly!
Kimberly has always had an interest in helping people ever since she was a little girl providing first aid to friends or other fallen children. It wasn’t until she graduated from university, she fully realized why she fell in love with her profession – nursing.
“I figured out what made me happy in life and that was to help someone else. I found my purpose,” Kimberly said. But this discovery didn’t come lightly as she had to dig deep within herself to figure out “why nursing?”
As she explained her process of uncovering her passion and the reasoning, she mentioned something her grandfather said to her at a young age. “Find what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This stuck with Kimberly and as she came to realize nursing was her calling, her grandfather’s words echoed in her head.
When Kimberly graduated from Rochester University in 2018, she jumped right into Neuro ICU in Michigan. She entered neurology without fully understanding the specialty but has grown to love it. “The thing with neuro is that you have to be a person who is efficient and detailed-oriented,” Kimberly explained, “anything you miss could lead to an error in assessment.”
With neuro ICU, nurses are potentially handling patients with severe to moderate mental health issues ranging from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, delirium, or even patients who become restless during scans. Although dealing with patients with mental health issues can be a major obstacle, Kimberly has found a way to combine her love for music and patient care. “I started looking at my patient’s medical bracelet, going to Pandora and playing music from their birth year,” she said, “and I’ve seen marvelous miracles happen when I played music.”
She recalled a time where she was attempting to get scans from a restless patient but because the scan was going to take an hour the patient became agitated. Kimberly jumped into action and started to play music to calm the patient. To no surprise, the patient immediately calms and begins tapping to the music. Multiple studies are showing the power of music in patient recovery and Kimberly put that knowledge into her daily work practice.
Kimberly has also developed new skills and refined some old ones. The biggest skill she has refined and continues to work on is her time management. No matter the specialty or role, time management is critical to success, but especially for neuro ICU nurses making split decisions on patient care. Overall, the skill she finds the most helpful is asking for help. “I was never the person to ask for help,” Kimberly said, “but these are patients’ lives – it’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to continue asking for help until you do [understand].”
These skills Kimberly has developed and refined could’ve never happened unless she dared to take a travel assignment outside of Michigan. At the beginning of the pandemic, Kimberly was at home making sure her parents were safe, which meant running groceries to them and making sure they remain indoors. When Kimberly finally decided to leave home, it wasn’t an easy one.
It wasn’t just her grandfather who inspired her to become the person she is today but her best friend and identical twin sister. Both important figures encouraged her to pursue what made her happy and that permitted her to take her first travel assignment in Texas in the summer of 2020, which eventually led her to California.
During her first assignment in Texas, she said she’s never learned so much about herself and from other nurses. In Texas, the COVID situation was the worst she’s experienced dealing with younger aged patients, the language barriers, and the lack of resources available. Luckily, when she got to San Diego for her next assignment, she was able to gain access to more resources for patient care including translators.
“I always said ‘I would never travel,’ but I learned on my way to California…I was happy with myself. I had to tell myself, ‘Look how far you’ve come. You’re able to work in a place you know no one, leaving family behind, moving across the country.’ I realized I wouldn’t be able to help these people in critical condition if I wasn’t happy with myself.”
The pandemic has been anything but easy for healthcare workers globally and their mental health has taken a hit because of it. Healthcare workers were forced to deal with lack of PPE, couldn’t see their loved ones and put their lives at risk working long hours. For Kimberly, the one thing that has helped her get through these tough times is podcasts. “If I didn’t have them, I would not be okay,” she said.
Podcasts have helped her tremendously – it is her meditation. Her go-to favorite podcasts are “On Purpose” with Jay Shetty and “School of Greatness” by Lewis Howes.
Besides podcasts, Kimberly (and her partner) are big fans of Suits, being outdoor near the water, and golfing. She says her boyfriend has been amazing and so supportive during this difficult period. He’s been an amazing addition to her support system.
Although her family support system has always been her go-to, her KPG Healthcare Travel Nurse recruiter, Edgar, has been a huge advocate for her. “I love KPG Because [Edgar] works there,” said Kimberly, “He texts me every week with the most, positive, upbeat message and I appreciate that. It helps put me in a healthy mindset and helps me thrive because he’s advocating for me to advocate for my patients. He takes the initiative to check in on me. I admire that and I respect him tremendously.”
Kimberly, from all of us here at KPG Healthcare, we want to thank you for your continued efforts to provide the best patient care possible during this pandemic. Your career thus far has been inspiring and we cannot wait to see all the success you accomplish with us.
Kimberly’s Advice for New Nurses
- Patch Adams – a line: “You treat a disease, you win you lose. You treat a person you win – no matter the outcome”
- Shaped her mentality and her career choice in nursing. Treating a patient like a human being.- you’ll get a vulnerable and emotional response from them. Easier to treat them when you treat them as a human.
- Information can be missed or fall through the cracks.
- Always have walked into a patient’s room and asked them about their history.
- Talk to the patient, the family will always help you in the end.
- I do not like to stand over/look down on the patient. Always bend down so they are higher than me or at eye level. Anything to calm their nerves.
- You’re not going to know everything and you’ll never will.
- Never take constructive criticism personally. It’s a good shift when the family/patient knows what’s going on and are happy with their treatment and learning something new. Learn as much as you can. Always something to learn. Should never leave not learning something true.